6 Things You Didn't Know About Singles Day
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
10 November 2020
November 11th marks Singles Day, a phenomenon originally believed to have been started by male students in Nanjing University in the 1990s, celebrating being single. Ironically, what originally had its roots being an anti-Valentine's Day celebration for singles, is now a popular day to express love for a partner in China, and has quickly grown into a mad, global shopping frenzy in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Check out other interesting facts about this legendary day:
1. It’s the world’s biggest e-commerce shopping event of the year
In 2009, Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and subsidiary Tmall.com, turned Singles’ Day into a heavily discounted annual online shopping event starting at midnight of November 11 and lasting for 24 hours thereafter. The day generates more sales than Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday all combined, with the most popular sales come from cosmetics, clothes, F&B, cars and household items. Business is so good, that Ma even trademarked the Chinese term for “Double 11” in 2012. And this year, 11.11 online sales in Singapore are projected to break records, as the pandemic spurred many brands to bolster their e-commerce.
2. The significance of 11.11
Four 1’s look a lot like four lonely single sticks, and In China, Singles' Day is called Guanggun Jie, Guānggùn Jié or Kuang-kun chieh. The literal meaning is Single Sticks or Bare Branch Day.
3. Let’s get married
Even though November 11 is an unofficial holiday for singles, it has also become a popular date for couples tying the knot, and saying farewell to their single life. In 2011 it was reported that more than 4,000 couples were married in Beijing on Singles' Day.
4. Snack for singles
The customary snack for Singles Day is deep-fried twisted dough sticks called yóutiáo, which are also aptly shaped like the figure 1. In South Korea, November 11 is known as Pepero Day, and is celebrated in a way that is similar to Valentine’s Day: friends and loved ones exchange the chocolate-covered sticks as a sign of affection. In Japan, it’s known as Pocky Day. Some people even bake their own Pocky and Pepero to gift to their loved ones!
5. Singles Day in Singapore
Singles’ Day has already been successfully launched in Southeast Asia through Lazada, Shopee, Qoo100, and more. In Singapore, dozens of websites, shops, and even services like GrabFood and insurance companies have hopped on the trend, offering deals on-site and in-store.
6. Too much e-traffic
Website crashes are common on Singles Day due to the sheer volume of e-transactions going on at the same time per second around the world. A huge no-no! It’s so serious, that even a minute of website downtime can result in staggering losses in revenue and image for the brand.